PREPARING FOR DOGGIE EMERGENCIES
You took CPR before your child was born, water safety classes prior to your first sailing excursion and crisis management courses at the law firm where your work. Now make sure you know how to spot a canine emergency. Below are common scenarios with notes on when to call your vet.
Scenario #1: Spanky stormed through the baby gate and got into your bathroom. Before you could even move a slippered foot, he jumped on the countertop and scarfed down the ibuprofen you’d been about to swallow to ease your back pain. Should you be worried?
ANSWER: A single dose of ibuprofen tranquilizers, acetaminophen or even a birth control pill won’t hurt your curious friend. That said, multiple doses could be problematic. Call a veterinarian immediately if he’s chewed up more than one pill.
Scenario #2: Lucky, your Border Collie, could not help himself: He had to chase that Volvo. (It was red, after all.) But he got hit this time. Thankfully, he doesn’t seem to be hurt. Is veterinary assistance required?
ANSWER: Absolutely. Many injuries aren’t immediately obvious, so dogs should be checked out. Of course, breathing difficulties are especially critical.
Scenario #3: You’ve taken Pup on a romp up into National Forest. He has a ball rummaging around the thick brush but returns to you with a deep gash on his leg. Is it important to head back to thehouse?
ANSWER: If the cut continues to bleed after a half hour or if his gums are pale, you’ll need to seek medical attention. (Pale gums indicate excessive blood loss.)
Scenario #4: You dog was so interested in the new Chow Chow next door that he tried to jump your privacy fence to get to her. Now, he’s limping. Do you allow him to learn a love lesson or take him in for analysis?
ANSWER: If his limp evaporates immediately or soon after the incident, he’s probably fine. If refuses to put pressure on it or if the leg looks like it is bent out of shape, contact your dog’s health care provider.
Scenario #5: Your Aunt Georgia says your Miniature Pinscher looks skinny and gives her several pieces of chocolate. You know such treats are unhealthy for dogs, but are they health threats?
ANSWER: That depends upon what kind of chocolate was given and how much the dog ate. The darker the sweet stuff, the more dangerous for canines. Always call your vet and report what you’ve seen.
Scenario #6: You’re playing catch with your pet and he keeps missing, despite your detailed tutelage. Then, he finally catches the ball, but it get lodged in his throat. What do you do?
ANSWER: Most dogs yak up whatever it is that stuck in their mouths, but on occasion their airways can become obstructed. If he doesn’t seem to be able to breath, or his breathing is labored, take him immediately to the emergency clinic. Never try to yank out the object, as it might get pushed further down the airway.
Emergencies are never planned. But since they do happen, it is important you know how to handle them. Furthermore, you can prepare for the worst by programming your vet’s number into your cell phone and printing out directions to his office — as well as a map to the after-hours clinic — and keeping them in the glove compartment of your car.